Tekka Centre is a multi-use building complex located at the junction of Bukit Timah Road and Serangoon Road. It consists of a wet market, food centre and shops.
In Hokkien, this market was known as Tek Kia Kha, meaning "foot of the small bamboos", as bamboo plants once grew on the banks of the Rochor Canal. The original market was built in 1915, and was located across the street between Hastings Road and Sungei Road. When it was torn down in 1982 and relocated at its present site, the new multi-use complex was named Zhujiao Centre, the Chinese pinyin version of Tek Kia. However, to locals, especially non-Chinese, the new word Zhujiao was both hard to read and pronounce. Eventually, the complex was officially renamed Tekka Centre in 2000 as it better reflected the history of the place.
Tekka Cente is a landmark in Little India, where different ethnic communities congregate. Some of the more notable shops include those selling Taoist and Buddhist paraphernalia, hardware shops, and tailors who can alter clothes in minutes. Interior of Tekka Market sell food and goods respectively. At the wet market, stalls sell seafood, especially crabs from Sri Lanka, and vegetables. There are also many Chinese stalls selling vegetables that are specially flown in from India.
Little India is the main attraction of the Serangoon area. This area stretches from the intersection between Serangoon Road and Bukit Timah Road (where the Tekka Centre is located) all the way north to the intersection between Serangoon Road and Kitchener Road (where the Mustafa shopping centre and City Square mall are located).
Little India is essentally an ethnic Indian neighbourhood found in Singapore. Historically when Singapore began it's history in the 1800s, the Chulia Kampong area was originally the area in Singapore where Indian immigrants would reside under the British policy of ethnic segregation. However, as Chulia Kampong became more crowded and competition for land escalated, many ethnic Indians moved into what is now known as Little India along Serangoon Road.
A visit to Little India is a must, especially near to the Deepavali (the Indian new year) where the streets and fulled with people and the festive mood. There are many attractions in Little India, which I will introduce to you one by one in the next few tips on Little India.
Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple is on Serangoon Road, near all the shophouses. It is a small temple built by Bengali workers in 1881. It has a tall tower with many sculptures of the gods. The tower was built so people could see it from miles away.
This is available at restaurants or the sweets shops at Little India. I snapped this photo of these delicous-looking Laddu at Komala Vila's Sweets Shop.
Laddu is made of yellow peas and deep fried until golden brown. It's coated with sugar syrup. It's then mixed with grated nutmeg, roasted chopped cashew nuts and cardamoms and rolled into ball shapes.
It's a pretty common sweet & you will see this being served in most Indian wedding functions.
It's fun to visit these beauty shops to take a look at people doing Henna Art and facial threading.
Also known as Mehndi, henna art has been around since ancient days of India. It's a form of vegetable dye. The Indian ladies used to have henna on their hands and feets during weddings, but nowadays a lot of people, including non-Indians, wear it for decorative purposes. I myself prefer simple floral designs on my fingers or around my arm.
You can choose the design you want, depending on how intricate and complicated the patterns are, it could take less than 5 mins to 15 mins for the art work. The dye will go away in 1 - 2 weeks time.
Henna art costs abt $2 - $10 depending on the designs.
For eyebrow threading, it generally costs abt $6 and it's fun! No worries, there's not much pain and it used to be a ritual for Indian ladies but it's gaining popularity among other races as well.
You must try the Indian sweets, which are very very rich in flavour and it's very sweet of course. =)
Even if you do not have a sweet tooth, you should at least nibble some of it for a little taste of Indian Dessert Culture. =), most of these sweets are made of ghee, sugar or flour.
My favourite is this cube form Indian sweets, that comes in pink, brown or white colours, it has the aroma and taste of coconut. It's known as Burfi, made of milk powder with other flavours. It cost about $0.80 per cube.
You must try the Choconut Burfi which is dark-chocolate in colour. Not too sweet but it taste absolutely heavenly. I could polish 7 to 8 pieces in one go!!
Another type is gulam jamun (cream cheese balls in syrup).
I usually visit Komala's Vila Sweets Shop as the 2 Indian ladies are very friendly.
How can one not visit the colourful HIndu Temples while in Little India?
You can start your tour from Tekka Wet Market and walk down to Serangoon Plaza.There are 2 Temples (10 mins walk from each other) and you'll be intrigued by the representations of the different gods. It's so interesting to look and ponder over the detailed sculptures of the gods and goddesses, you'll also discover depictions of certain animals (e.g. the sacred cow).
Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple
Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple (under major renovation at this point of writing)
No shoes allow in the temples.